Imagine 50’s rockabilly music combined with the raw and imperfect vocals of a hard rocker – this mix is perfected in Ezra Furman. Furman performs with a band previously called the Harpoons, and now takes on the title Ezra Furman and the Boy-Friends. Always donning his signature red lipstick, one may have to take a second glance when he/she first lays eyes on Furman. His music, much like his look, is wildly free and unapologetically truthful. “Wobbly,” a song from his third and latest LP titled Perpetual Motion People (July 2015 via Bella Union), is uplifting and autobiographical, discussing personal topics such as gender fluidity, overcoming depression, and staying ahead of societal stereotypes.
“Wobbly” chronicles living life on a…well, wobbly path. Why do everything straight and perfect like society wants? There’s nothing fun or unique about that! The joy in life is live unpredictably and with freedom, like how you want to live it! Furman opens the song by singing, “I’ve been feeling wobbly, so wobbly/Feeling like they lost me/Can’t find me/And they’re always one step behind me…” Furman is alluding to society and its want and need to always label people. “Wobbly” is all about defying that and not letting yourself take what appears to be the easy road out of life. Furman continues, “But they’ll never catch me/Won’t have me/Because no one can grab me/Even me.” Furman encapsulates a time in society where being different is more and more celebrated, and his lyrics give hope and strength to those who may feel left out still or ostracized.
Listen: “Wobbly” – Ezra Furman
Furman addresses his own gender fluidity in “Wobbly,” something that many people nowadays can relate with. He sings, “Genders, my friends/I’ve just been changing genders, fluidly/Because they’ll never pin me/Down in the pages/Like a bug or bumble-bee/Never classify me; don’t try me/The soul is always rising, uprising.” Here he is talking about society not being able to keep up with the complexity of a human being. Us humans should not try to pin one another down into normality. Furman’s gender fluidity is something he embraces, and in doing so, encourages others to do the same. In concerts, in music videos, in real life – Furman is seen with fun and interesting outfits, including dresses, skirts, blazers, and of course, pearls!
Furman’s music has that awesome and magical capability of making one feel like it OK to be alive and that it is OK to be oneself and be different from everyone else. “Wobbly” teaches that living is great even when the path you’re on is full of ups and downs and twists and turns.
Yes, life can get you down, as Furman sings in the song:
Sometimes I wobble down
Into a deep dark hole
At the bottom of the ocean floor
They all just seem so fixed
Everything seems so straight
But I don’t want to stay down here
I want to be free.
Furman, who has sung about depression before (see his songs “Ordinary Life” and “Down”), doesn’t dwell on the negativity for too long in this song. With the line “Everything seems so straight,” Furman is referring to a multitude of things, including gender and one’s life path. Having everything and everyone be straight and perfect is uninteresting, and he would rather live a wobbly and non-conforming life than be stuck in a rut of all things boring and unoriginal.
Not only does “Wobbly” express the freedom Furman has as a person and his inspiration to others to seek the same, but also the song expresses musical freedom. Hand claps, doo-wop harmonies, and bouncy guitar and saxophone solos make this song lively, joyous and perfectly fitting for its title. In the darkest part of the song, when he wobbles “down into a deep dark hole,” the music follows course and becomes moody and mysterious, with a harrowing saxophone in the distance, rather than a joyous one.
Ezra Furman is a savior of this day and age. “Wobbly” encourages people to find the truth in themselves. The song blends different music styles perfectly and in doing so adds a whole new layer of meaning to the title. “Wobbly” teaches love and acceptance for who one is, and not what society wants one to be, because who wants to live life on a straight and boring path anyways?